END OF LIFE WITH DIGNITY

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Conference
2016 National Retired Members Conference
Date
8 June 2016
Decision

Conference notes that retired people in later life face challenges not previously encountered due to longer life expectancy enabled by medical advances. The Dignified Code produced by National Pensioners Convention calls for individuals to have freedom and choice for personal wishes to be implemented when individuals are no longer able to express themselves.

Conference recognises that some terminally ill older people suffer against their wishes at the end of their lives and that some older people take matters in their own hands including travelling if they are able to afford to another country away from their loved ones and their home to end their lives.

Conference also notes that while prosecution guidelines endorsed by Parliament in recent times can be interpreted so that friends and family can assist someone to take their own life without medical advice, there remains the possibility of a prosecution.

Conference recognises that there are concerns that a change in law may create a sense of insecurity amongst vulnerable people and that this was why MPs felt unable to support the second reading of the Assisted Dying Bill in September 2015. Proper and widespread consultations should be conducted so that suitable and tight safeguards are developed to protect vulnerable old people.

Conference instructs National Retired Members’ Committee to liaise with National Executive Council to:

a) campaign for a change in law to allow for individuals particularly older people to have a choice after careful consideration of medical advice and the discussion with loved ones, to end their life with physician assistance at the place of their choice;

b) report back the actions and progress to the UNISON National Retired Members’ Conference 2017.